The Endocannabinoid System | How it Works

hemp endocannabinoidsMany people wrestle with difficult health problems such as chronic pain, neurological disorders like seizures, psychological problems like mood disorder, neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, autoimmune disorders, cancer and glaucoma. Now, there is new-found hope for recovery from these serious conditions thanks to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS was discovered while researching the effects of cannabis. Cannabis is also known as hemp (the industrial, non-psychoactive variety) or marijuana (the psychoactive variety). This system and the compounds related to it were named after the cannabis plant in the same way opioid receptors were named for the opiates from the poppy plant. In this month’s Sunshine Sharing, you’ll learn how this system works and how you can utilize phytocannabinoids to help relieve numerous serious health problems like the ones listed above.

If you are interested in purchasing or trying products there are many reputable companies that offer quality products. I have used their products with clients and have found them to be very effective.

Phytocannabinoids and Terpenes

The entourage effect mentioned in this month’s Sunshine Sharing is definitely something herbalists and aromatherapists like myself focus on. The whole plant is what is key. The synergy effect of the food, the herb, the oil, and now the whole or full-spectrum extract is what is so interesting. It is also what gives combining them such power.

Cannabis contains terpenes as well as phytocannabinoids. Terpenes have become much more known because of the popularity of essential oils. However, herbs, fruits, and vegetables all contain terpenes. Terpenes are what gives a plant its aroma, color and taste. Over 100 phytocannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant. Keep in mind that hemp and marijuana are both species or varieties of cannabis. There are many well known phytocannabinoids. I have listed a few below and their associations.

  • CBD (Cannabidiol) – is often associated with situations of mood, stress relief, pain relief, anticonvulsant, deter appetite, and inflammation.
  • CBN (Cannabinol) – is often associated with sleep, pain relief, to help stimulate your appetite or to use as an anti-bacterial.
  • CBG (Caqnnabigerol) – is often associated with reducing inflammation, as a nerve protectant, to uplift our mood, and to inhibit tumor growth.
  • CBC (Cannabichroman) – is often thought of when wanting assistance with inflammation, pain, anti-fungal properties. It is also known for its synergistic effect in working with the other cannabinoids.

essential oils, cannabis, terpenes

Essential Oils and Terpenes

Many aromatherapists are familiar with terpenes because of their extensive work with essential oils. Terpenes found in Essential oils as well as Cannabis have have been studied for their therapeutic benefits. Below are list of a few of these well known terpenes.

  • Linalol is found in Clary Sage and Lavender as well as many other essential oils. Linalol offers therapeutic benefits as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, airborne antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and calming (sedative).
  • d-Limonene is found in many citrus essential oils such as Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, and Sweet Orange. d-Limonene offers therapeutic benefits as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, insomnia, and anxiety.
  • a-Pinene is found in Pine, Cypress, Frankincense, Juniper Berry, and Helichrysum essential oils. a-Pinene offers therapeutic benefits as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antispasmodic and antiviral.
  • Caryophyllene is found in Black Pepper, Clove and Cinnamon essential oil. Caryophellene offers a therapeutic benefit as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, immunostimulant, and anti anxiety.
  • Humulene is found in Clove and Basil essential oils. It offers therapeutic benefits as an anti-inflammatory.

You can see why there is so much talk about the Endocannabinoid System. The benefits of using full spectrum CBD extracts are many because of the combination from their phytocannabinoids as well as terpenes. The excitement only continues when used in combination with essential oils. This enhances the terpene benefits and when coupled with a healthy diet and lifestyle products can become so much more effective.

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References: Colleen Quinn “Exploring the Therapeutic World of Cannabidiol” | Andrea Butje, “Chemical Properties of Essential OIls”